I WAS A very precocious young driver. I went to the DMV on my 14th birthday, scored a passable 17/20 on the written exam, and drove home. Of course, it wasn’t ACT that easy. My parents only drive cars with manual transmissions, so by the transitive property of equality, I would learn how to drive a manual. It all rolled along smoothly until I was less than a mile away from my house. Someone was tailgating me up Rabbit Creek Road and instead of shifting into 3rd, I shifted into 5th, stalled the car and gave up. I got out, walked around to the passenger side and made my mom drive the rest of the way home. I didn’t drive for a month after that.
Six months later, I felt confident enough to take the full license test. The only problem was I had another 18 months to wait until I could pass the first requirement - “Must be 16 years of age.”
My sweet wheels
So, just three days after my 16th birthday, I barely passed the road test and was granted my provisional. The "provi" (as it’s known to the young'uns) is sort of gray area. Some parents, like mine, enforce it's provisional status requirements (a teen may drive without a parent in the car, but only with family members who are of age - no friends allowed. No driving between the hours of 11 PM and 5 AM, unless it's for work), while other parents totally disregard these rules, most likely because they’re just glad they glad they don’t have to be a kid chauffeur anymore. I’m not going to say whether I gave people rides during that 6-month period for legal reasons, but I can say that when I finally got my full license, I breathed a sigh of relief.
Although those rules seemed to be the bane of my existence for six months, I know without them I would’ve gotten at least a ticket, if not worse. Driving with friends is a complete distraction, even if they aren’t trying to be one. So while these restrictions are a real bummer for newly minted young drivers I'll bet they've saved a few lives.